One of the greatest weapons that workers and oppressed people possess against the bosses and capitalists is our unity. When Marxists speak or write about proletarian solidarity, working-class solidarity, and international solidarity, they mean the complete unity of interest of all the peoples oppressed and exploited by capitalism. It is only by coming together in solidarity — it is only through closing ranks against the common enemy — that any victory has ever been won by the masses of people.
Working-class solidarity is present in every picket line, every union action, every strike and any time workers take a stand against the bosses. If workers go on strike, only a scab or a boss will cross the picket line, while all workers who feel solidarity with each other refuse. Workers formed trade unions and continue to organize into unions today out of the knowledge that only through banding together in solidarity can even the slightest improvement be gained in working conditions, wages, job security, and so forth.
The bosses attempt to break up and destroy working-class solidarity by dividing the poor and working people against each other. They attempt to turn men against women workers. They try to break the multinational unity of the working class by dividing white workers and people of color, and further attempt to pit Black and Brown workers against one another. Using xenophobic hysteria, bosses attempt to turn U.S.-born workers against immigrant workers. Bosses will also try to divide straight and lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ+) workers.
Nonetheless, the solidarity of the world working class and oppressed peoples has often defeated the attempts of the capitalists to trick working people into fighting against one another.
Real working-class solidarity can only be achieved, and real unity won, when solidarity is based on the rights of equality of all. This means, for example, that men must actively fight against sexism and for the rights of women; white workers must struggle against racism and national oppression, and for the full rights of Black and Brown workers.
Workers need class solidarity that unites with the struggles for national liberation, women’s liberation, LGBTQ2S liberation, and the struggles of immigrant workers for full rights, to win the liberation of all oppressed and exploited by capitalism through the worldwide socialist revolution. This is the greatest act of working-class solidarity and is the only thing that will bring an end to the capitalist system of profit and exploitation once and for all, and that will ultimately wipe out all oppression. There can be no class struggle without class solidarity.
- Solidarity is mutual aid between forces fighting for the same objectives — Samora Machel
- The Working Class and the National Question – by V.I. Lenin. “Class-conscious workers stand for full unity among the workers of all nations in every educational, trade union, political, etc., workers’ organization.”
- The Question of Nationalities or “Autonomisation” by V.I. Lenin, on the question of oppression and working class unity
- Return to What is Marxism?